Filling the gap between the IMC presenting their latest, the 10th, report to the Irish and British governments and the rest of us being able to see it, on Wednesday, Secretary of State for Wales and Northern Ireland Peter Hain has, once again, been accentuating the positive [expect similiar statements to those in February to be made in the days ahead].. though Peter Hain doesn’t seem to have explained what he means by the IRA “cracking down” on criminal activity.. nor why that organisation taking on, what should be, a policing role is, of itself, a good thing? Meanwhile Liam Clarke in the Sunday Times has a slightly more nuanced take on the report.From the BBC report –
Speaking on GMTV’s Sunday Programme, Mr Hain said republicans were increasingly heading towards engagement in democratic politics.
He said the IRA was “cracking down” on criminal activity, although there were still problems with some dissidents as well as loyalist paramilitaries.
“But the overall picture is of a Northern Ireland light years away from where it was,” he said.
“I don’t think that any politician in Northern Ireland can use the excuse for much longer that the IRA poses a terrorist threat or that it’s organised some central criminal conspiracy as a reason not to join in a power-sharing government over the coming period.”
While the Sunday Times reports –
THE latest report of the International Monitoring Commission (IMC) on Wednesday is not expected to upset this week’s round of negotiations, according to Irish government sources. The report will not give the IRA a completely clean bill of health, but will state that steady progress is being made.
It will confirm that the IRA is no longer recruiting or preparing for a return to violence. It is understood that the IRA is continuing to gather intelligence on political and economic matters and does not pose a threat to the security forces. The organisation has also scaled back some of its criminal enterprises.